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This commentary was prepared by Karmayogi of The Mother’s Service Society (India). See or MSS Research. The Comments column is intended for brief insightful remarks on the text. For longer comments or questions use the Talk page of this article or create a new article and add a link in the comments section of this page or under the appropriate heading on P&P project mainpage.

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The Bennets were engaged to dine with the Lucases, and again during the chief of the day, was Miss Lucas so kind as to listen to Mr. Collins. Elizabeth took an opportunity of thanking her. "It keeps him in good humour," said she, "and I am more obliged to you than I can express." Charlotte assured her friend of her satisfaction in being useful, and that it amply repaid her for the little sacrifice of her time. This was very amiable, but Charlotte's kindness extended farther than Elizabeth had any conception of; -- its object was nothing else than to secure her from any return of Mr. Collins's addresses, by engaging them towards herself. Such was Miss Lucas's scheme; and appearances were so favourable, that when they parted at night she would have felt almost sure of success if he had not been to leave Hertfordshire so very soon. But here she did injustice to the fire and independence of his character, for it led him to escape out of Longbourn House the next morning with admirable slyness, and hasten to Lucas Lodge to throw himself at her feet. He was anxious to avoid the notice of his cousins, from a conviction that if they saw him depart, they could not fail to conjecture his design, and he was not willing to have the attempt known till its success could be known likewise; for though feeling almost secure, and with reason, for Charlotte had been tolerably encouraging, he was comparatively diffident since the adventure of Wednesday. His reception, however, was of the most flattering kind. Miss Lucas perceived him from an upper window as he walked towards the house, and instantly set out to meet him accidentally in the lane. But little had she dared to hope that so much love and eloquence awaited her there.

  • Charlotte is a psychological complement to Elizabeth in the society.
  • What is a curse for one is a blessing for the other.
  • As Charlotte wishes Elizabeth to marry Darcy, there is an unperceived inverted subconscious wish in Elizabeth for her friend. That is why she gave Collins by her rejection to Charlotte.
  • Elizabeth deep down was pleased by Charlotte settling down at last.
  • In social relationships, there are some powerful principles of which the joy of satisfaction of the small in being useful to the great is one that is pervasive.
  • Social energies like water find their level for which the conduits of passages are many. The above is one such.
  • No motives are exclusive, they are found in mixture.
  • Schemes are hatched by thought-initiative.
  • Even circumstances are capable of hatching schemes.
  • The fact that Charlotte found herself alone for a whole day with Collins is a fertile circumstance to create such a scheme.
  • Scarcity of time abridges opportunities is true; but also, for the same reason, it can make the opportunities yield quicker results.
  • With respect to fire and energy, Mr. Collins is no ordinary one. He is alert, mentally organised, gallant, resourceful, thoughtful, energetic, dynamic for his own constitution.
  • His shyness in escaping from Longbourn overlooks the courtesy of informing the host, is urged by the spirit of vengeance, the gathering of energies by the encouragement of Charlotte and, by the explosive social power of accomplishment in the place.
  • From the very opening there is in the physical atmosphere of Meryton this power intent on achievement which is seen in Mrs. Bennet’s impatient dynamism, the depth of attachment the sisters have for Jane, Darcy’s impulsive request to Elizabeth to waltz with him, the quickness with which the family moved out of Netherfield, and the magnetism of attraction of the four bridegrooms.
  • The review of a novel is done by the plot, character, social context, author’s background. We should add other dimensions such as energy of the time, place, characters, interrelationship of characters, interrelationships of events, events with character, life response, subconscious aspiration, social aspiration, organisation of social power, attitudes and skills that accomplish or act in the opposite direction, levels of individual and collective beliefs. As a rule, a novel can be fully reviewed from every social aspect that are legion in number.
  • Charlotte’s success is mainly accomplished by the dynamic energy of the self-restraint to remain passive. Her house is not a threat to his personality, not even a challenge like Longbourn, which fortifies their tête-à-tête. Yearning for security is in its own way powerful.
  • Unseen by others, the energy of enthusiasm rises.
  • Others’ conjectures of his design are an interference and can lessen the intensity of his outpourings.
  • Security of feeling arises from the situation; diffidence arises from experience.
  • The difference in reception at Longbourn and the Lodge itself is enough for him to release a flood of energy in action.
  • Rarely an act is completed without a ruse or design, intended or otherwise.
  • A ruse, trick, strategy has the capacity to yield all the result at once.
  • She never expected so much love and eloquence awaited her.
  • At the house of Mr Bennet Miss Lucas patiently listened to Collins. Lizzy heartily thanked her for the relief. In a subtle sense it sounds that Elizabeth is thanking Miss Lucas for enabling Darcy to propose to her.
  • As Elizabeth rudely refused Collins, he was not confident of Charlotte’s acceptance. The fire and independence of his character sail into vigorous action as he was mortally offended. Offending a sensitive part releases greater energy than the positive inspiration of an ideal. His vehemence was met by her yearning for marriage. She was waiting for him and met him half way. Completion of an act, at its tether end, requires such consummate strategies.
  • It is her perceiving him coming and meeting him half way as if accidentally, that released so much of eloquence and love from him

In as short a time as Mr. Collins's long speeches would allow, everything was settled between them to the satisfaction of both; and as they entered the house he earnestly entreated her to name the day that was to make him the happiest of men; and though such a solicitation must be waved for the present, the lady felt no inclination to trifle with his happiness. The stupidity with which he was favoured by nature must guard his courtship from any charm that could make a woman wish for its continuance; and Miss Lucas, who accepted him solely from the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment, cared not how soon that establishment were gained.

  • A trick gives temporary results.
  • If results are lasting, they were at lower levels.
  • They have the character of ruining the results later.
  • In an atmosphere of transformation, they reverse themselves.
  • Charlotte’s gain is a clown, much lower to her culture.
  • Caroline’s ruse destroyed her chances with Darcy.
  • Darcy apologised to Bingley.
  • Even the heightened emotions do not shorten his speeches.
  • High ideals do not help reverse petty procedures.
  • Longbourn got an idiot mistress and a stupid heir. It is the trait of unsophisticated cultivation. Landed gentry developed the code of the gentleman because they were unsophisticated and uneducated, as honour is developed by incapacity to write.
  • To Charlotte, it is still a catch as the alternative to her is the poverty of an old maid.
  • To him, there can be no better wife, who will tolerate him and his stupidity.
  • It was all settled in a trice that she should make him the happiest of men. The only delay is his long speech. Habit prevails even in that moment of romance.
  • Charlotte is too wise to trifle with his long winding exuberant eloquence a confirmation to him of his higher education

Sir William and Lady Lucas were speedily applied to for their consent; and it was bestowed with a most joyful alacrity. Mr. Collins's present circumstances made it a most eligible match for their daughter, to whom they could give little fortune; and his prospects of future wealth were exceedingly fair. Lady Lucas began directly to calculate, with more interest than the matter had ever excited before, how many years longer Mr. Bennet was likely to live; and Sir William gave it as his decided opinion that, whenever Mr. Collins should be in possession of the Longbourn estate, it would be highly expedient that both he and his wife should make their appearance at St. James's. The whole family, in short, were properly overjoyed on the occasion. The younger girls formed hopes of coming out a year or two sooner than they might otherwise have done; and the boys were relieved from their apprehension of Charlotte's dying an old maid. Charlotte herself was tolerably composed. She had gained her point, and had time to consider of it. Her reflections were in general satisfactory. Mr. Collins, to be sure, was neither sensible nor agreeable; his society was irksome, and his attachment to her must be imaginary. But still he would be her husband. Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want. This preservative she had now obtained; and at the age of twenty-seven, without having ever been handsome, she felt all the good luck of it. The least agreeable circumstance in the business was the surprise it must occasion to Elizabeth Bennet, whose friendship she valued beyond that of any other person. Elizabeth would wonder, and probably would blame her; and though her resolution was not to be shaken, her feelings must be hurt by such disapprobation. She resolved to give her the information herself, and therefore charged Mr. Collins, when he returned to Longbourn to dinner, to drop no hint of what had passed before any of the family. A promise of secrecy was of course very dutifully given, but it could not be kept without difficulty; for the curiosity excited by his long absence burst forth in such very direct questions on his return as required some ingenuity to evade, and he was at the same time exercising great self-denial, for he was longing to publish his prosperous love.

  • Mr. Bennet was the principal family of the locality. In an atmosphere of grace, people of good will rise to the maximum height possible. Now Sir Lucas will soon move into that bracket.
  • After Charlotte’s engagement, we see that it was Elizabeth who personally sent Mr. Collins to her. Charlotte only gave advice. Elizabeth gave the groom.
  • Sir Lucas is polite and thinks of their appearance at St. James. His wife is mean to think of the life after Mr. Bennet. Seen as the repercussion of Mrs. Bennet’s effusion at Lady Lucas’ expense, the sordidness of the thought is lessened. 22.16
  • In fact, the wedding that overjoyed her family is a forerunner of the other three weddings. The first, though a wedding, is somewhat like Charlotte’s. The following two weddings are parallels to hers in wealth, joy and status.
  • Charlotte has enough common sense to remain composed. No over-joy will spill over her personality because of the reality of the personality of Collins.
  • The unprovided woman of that period was to congratulate herself on an insensible, disagreeable, irksome husband. The security of the mere property entails all these attributes.
  • Anyone attains ultimately if they concentrate on an object.
  • Sir Lucas has made the mission of his life to be pleasant to all. Life has been abundantly pleasant to his family.
  • Her manners and common sense being a level above others, Luck entered her.
  • At the age of 27 it is luck for her – Austen.
  • Jane Austen calls marriage the pleasantest preservative.
  • The temperament of Charlotte can thus be described.
  • Charlotte does anticipate Elizabeth’s frustration. She has thus much common sense.
  • It was a wise strategy to have prevented him from disclosing it.
  • Not his joy, but his clownishness would have come out.
  • Elizabeth’s impossibility comes back to her twice.
  • The value of a thing is in the seeking of it.
  • Every man accepted in marriage truly finds himself the happiest.
  • To know that there is always more in a woman the man still needs is the basis of eternal romance.
  • Having spent several days at Longbourn, Mr. Collins found the passive receptivity of ardent willingness in Charlotte enticing.
  • He understands her own ready willingness the measure of his material worth.
  • It was a capital stroke to have asked Mr. Collins not to disclose the engagement.
  • The hilarious animated confusion his announcement would have opened up is unimaginable, especially the varieties of suspicions it would have generated.
  • One who is endowed with stupidity becomes dynamic by education. It constantly seeks exhibition. It is irksome to refined persons. Collins sought Miss Lucas for her patient listening. It is her asset, which won her a husband of £2000 a year. Even courtship is made irksome by such an urge. Charlotte, who sought a preservative from want successfully, is patient enough to let him exhaust his exuberance
  • The value of an acquisition lies in its non-stop display
  • What was an insult to Elizabeth is an occasion for overflowing joy to the Lucases
  • Marriage is the only source of support for woman who cannot earn.
  • Her luck issued out of her natural good will.
  • Charlotte valued the friendship of Elizabeth as she recognised Lizzy’s perception.
  • The same information coming from different people can have a different effect.
  • Secrecy when the urge is great gives tension.
  • An obvious fact cannot be avoided by honest responses.
  • The one thing love seeks is public recognition

22 collins with lucases Pride and Prejudice

As he was to begin his journey too early on the morrow to see any of the family, the ceremony of leavetaking was performed when the ladies moved for the night; and Mrs. Bennet, with great politeness and cordiality, said how happy they should be to see him at Longbourn again, whenever his other engagements might allow him to visit them.


"My dear madam," he replied, "this invitation is particularly gratifying, because it is what I have been hoping to receive; and you may be very certain that I shall avail myself of it as soon as possible."


They were all astonished; and Mr. Bennet, who could by no means wish for so speedy a return, immediately said --

  • Mr. Bennet is mean in asking him not to return after his wife invited him.
  • Mr. Bennet is rude enough to suggest he need not return
  • His stupidity is infinite to bring out from others infinite rudeness
  • Mr. Bennet dissuades him from returning while Mrs. Bennet extends an invitation. * Collins has a great role to play in their life by bringing Darcy to the family. Mrs. Bennet who is brainless is aware of the subtle truth. Mr. Bennet in whom the mind is formed is prevented from seeing the truth

"But is there not danger of Lady Catherine's disapprobation here, my good sir? You had better neglect your relations than run the risk of offending your patroness."


"My dear sir," replied Mr. Collins, "I am particularly obliged to you for this friendly caution, and you may depend upon my not taking so material a step without her ladyship's concurrence."


"You cannot be too much on your guard. Risk anything rather than her displeasure; and if you find it likely to be raised by your coming to us again, which I should think exceedingly probable, stay quietly at home, and be satisfied that we shall take no offence."


"Believe me, my dear sir, my gratitude is warmly excited by such affectionate attention; and depend upon it, you will speedily receive from me a letter of thanks for this, as well as for every other mark of your regard during my stay in Hertfordshire. As for my fair cousins, though my absence may not be long enough to render it necessary, I shall now take the liberty of wishing them health and happiness, not excepting my cousin Elizabeth."

  • Mr. Collins says that his wedding will be ‘speedily’ arranged.
  • “My gratitude is warmly excited by such affectionate attention” has no reference to Bennet’s warning. It refers, in a subtle sense, to his prosperous love which he is anxious to announce, perhaps to spite Elizabeth. “All of them are equally surprised” by his promised return. Life always has infinite surprises. Today Collins knows why he is returning and the ladies do not know. A day earlier Collins himself had not known the surprise of his engagement. Life is live

With proper civilities the ladies then withdrew; all of them equally surprised to find that he meditated a quick return. Mrs. Bennet wished to understand by it that he thought of paying his addresses to one of her younger girls, and Mary might have been prevailed on to accept him. She rated his abilities much higher than any of the others; there was a solidity in his reflections which often struck her, and though by no means so clever as herself, she thought that if encouraged to read and improve himself by such an example as hers, he might become a very agreeable companion. But on the following morning, every hope of this kind was done away. Miss Lucas called soon after breakfast, and in a private conference with Elizabeth related the event of the day before.

  • Many whom Collins will consider a novice rate him below her attainment. In evaluation anyone rates the other person against his own greatest strength and the other’s greatest weakness. Often they will be varying fields. Mary values her own learning, compares his manners with her learning. Expectations soar high on the eve of its opposite developments. Now that he is engaged and there is no scope for Mary, Mary can dream of its possibility. Her rating him lower than herself indicates that the chance is exhausted
  • Mary is well disposed towards Mr. Collins, but she rates herself above him.
  • He who wants something wishes to receive it for his higher merit real or imaginary.

The possibility of Mr. Collins's fancying himself in love with her friend had once occurred to Elizabeth within the last day or two; but that Charlotte could encourage him seemed almost as far from possibility as that she could encourage him herself, and her astonishment was consequently so great as to overcome at first the bounds of decorum, and she could not help crying out --

  • No event that takes place leaves it unannounced.
  • An egoistic man approves of all others helping him, not him to others.
  • Selfishness, egoism, irrationality, smallness all have a similar logic –
  • Elizabeth reasons the relationship of Collins and Charlotte thus.
  • All natural energies break all the boundaries
  • Once or twice Elizabeth fancied that he was in love with Charlotte. In life nothing descends all on a sudden. Its early symptoms will be there if one is perceptive
  • Elizabeth was disgusted with Collins’ obsequious behaviour. All her bounds of decorum broke when she heard it and she exclaimed, “Impossible!”. That intensity is equalled by her own vehement refusal of Darcy later

"Engaged to Mr. Collins! My dear Charlotte, impossible!"


The steady countenance which Miss Lucas had commanded in telling her story, gave way to a momentary confusion here on receiving so direct a reproach; though, as it was no more than she expected, she soon regained her composure, and calmly replied --

  • Charlotte is under as great a restraint as Elizabeth.
  • That Mr. Collins is a rejected lover dampens her outburst.
  • The joy of Charlotte in Mr. Collins and that of Lydia in Wickham is the same. One is for security in age, the other is triumph in expansive love.
  • Charlotte’s steady countenance is the result of restraint which in her own house overflows without bounds.
  • Where congratulations are due, Charlotte meets with disapproval. Still she values her friendship with Elizabeth. It is the wisdom of mercenary character.
  • Subconsciously Elizabeth may resent Longbourn going to Charlotte. If it is so, the rule ‘justifies’ Charlotte’s good will to Elizabeth.
  • Elizabeth, in the subtle plane, ‘sees’ Darcy’s proposal.
  • There is truth in Charlotte’s defence. It is the other side of the picture

"Why should you be surprised, my dear Eliza? Do you think it incredible that Mr. Collins should be able to procure any woman's good opinion, because he was not so happy as to succeed with you?"

  • The joy of Charlotte in her restrained, composed behaviour is really the joy of being married.
  • The relationship between inner feeling and outer verbal expression that is known as manners is the acme of social achievement.

But Elizabeth had now recollected herself, and making a strong effort for it, was able to assure her with tolerable firmness that the prospect of their relationship was highly grateful to her, and that she wished her all imaginable happiness.

  • Caroline later made up with Jane and Elizabeth taking her own time.
  • Elizabeth has to do the same in minutes.
  • In a girl of 21 it is admirable how Elizabeth rallied to good behaviour and congratulation

"I see what you are feeling," replied Charlotte; "you must be surprised, very much surprised -- so lately as Mr. Collins was wishing to marry you. But when you have had time to think it all over, I hope you will be satisfied with what I have done. I am not romantic, you know; I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins's character, connexions, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state."

  • Charlotte desires to defend and justify herself as Elizabeth matters to her. Also she speaks a great truth that happiness in marriage is only by chance
  • She is down to earth and ‘asks only for a comfortable home’. This is a mercenary ideal. All those who seek a mercenary ideal may or may not succeed, but one thing is certain, it will come through shame
  • As Collins proposed to both of them, Charlotte feels the equal of Elizabeth.
  • Charlotte is now in a state of inner joy overflowing through the pores of her skin. Any touch intensifies it. She seeks that of Elizabeth. Even the negative touch is delight.

Elizabeth quietly answered "Undoubtedly"; and after an awkward pause they returned to the rest of the family. Charlotte did not stay much longer, and Elizabeth was then left to reflect on what she had heard. It was a long time before she became at all reconciled to the idea of so unsuitable a match. The strangeness of Mr. Collins's making two offers of marriage within three days was nothing in comparison of his being now accepted. She had always felt that Charlotte's opinion of matrimony was not exactly like her own, but she could not have supposed it possible that, when called into action, she would have sacrificed every better feeling to worldly advantage. Charlotte the wife of Mr. Collins was a most humiliating picture! And to the pang of a friend disgracing herself and sunk in her esteem, was added the distressing conviction that it was impossible for that friend to be tolerably happy in the lot she had chosen.

  • When the outer expresses the opposite of the inner, the form taken by the voice and words is awkward.
  • Sweetness or beauty is the harmony of the outer and inner.
  • For Charlotte, it is a reverse of triumph to meet Elizabeth.
  • They move to meet others as there the awkwardness is thinned out.
  • While in the presence of Charlotte, Elizabeth feels. She needs to be alone to think.
  • “Charlotte did not stay much longer” for two reasons. 1) She was ashamed of her act; 2) she has too much of enjoyment at home to celebrate the engagement. Elizabeth is uncompromising in her choice of men. Charlotte sacrifices everything. One got Darcy and the other got Collins. It is impossible to see that Charlotte in her position as a portionless 27 year old, could have had a groom like Darcy had she willed like Elizabeth
  • To Elizabeth, Charlotte’s engagement is life’s advance indication and a preparation.
  • Refusal in timid characters leads to a reversal of energy. In a dynamic character, it energises the movement which seeks another destination.
  • Two proposals in three days is certainly strange. The energies of Bingley, Jane, Collins, the refusal of Elizabeth, the yearning of Charlotte, the dynamism of Mrs. Bennet, in their sum play down the strangeness.
  • Society splits into two parts, one consisting of a great majority that sacrifices all better feelings to worldly advantage and the other that honours those better feelings. The world is sustained by this minority.
  • Charlotte represents the majority, Elizabeth the minority. The secret of life is the consciousness of Charlotte is there in Elizabeth which wants to marry Darcy for Pemberley. It is not humiliating to Elizabeth. Both are the same, the degree of social acceptance varies.
  • Happiness for Elizabeth is in a cultured life while for Charlotte it is in a secure life. Elizabeth has the adventure to refuse Collins at her age which Charlotte at the age of 27 was unable to do. Elizabeth even at 27 would not marry Collins.
  • To see in Charlotte herself and appreciate requires not only a broad but a rational mind.

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